4 key global payroll tips

Taking your business to new markets often provides new opportunities, but it can also present new challenges.

International companies aren’t just international companies: they are local ones, too. Every office you open in every country will produce its own paperwork, it will have to negotiate its own contracts, and organise its own payroll, in full compliance with regional and national laws.

On this last point, at least, global payroll solutions – which allow businesses to centralise their international payroll requirements – may represent a way forward: lightening a company’s administrative burden and limiting the number of service contracts they must process and manage.

But a global payroll solution by itself isn’t going to do much for you without the right practices and policies. Here are four tips to ensure you get it up and running as quickly as possible.

1. Find versatile providers

A global payroll partner must be able to understand the extent of your international operations: they can’t just be middle-men. They should be locally-sourced experts with intimate knowledge of each market you work in. Laws, tax requirements, and HR practices vary in every nation, and if you’re aware of them, you’re less likely to be tripped up by them.

Localism is important, but your provider must also be highly versatile with their technology: if you need to change how payroll is managed, or if you need to transition your existing processes to the new system, this should be straightforward and uncomplicated.

2. Standardise salaries

The enemy of simplicity is variation: your company wage policy should be designed to ensure that employees at similar levels in every office receive similar benefits, bonuses, and annual leave allowances (as the law allows). This will go some way towards reducing the complexity involved in your global payroll governance system.

Employee travel allowances, for example, may seem straightforward, but requirements can vary from country to country. To avoid unnecessarily complicated scenarios, the ideal would be to standardise the internal policy based on country specific rules where possible. By employing a one-size-fits-all approach wherever possible, you can avoid internal tensions and unnecessary conflicts.

3. Break down silos

The thing about big businesses is that they often feel like several little businesses: each producing their own documents and data that they keep solemnly to themselves. This is less than ideal for several reasons, not least because this information is invariably not shared with people who need it in the wider enterprise.

A global payroll strategy cannot function when a company is heavily siloed. It’s HR’s responsibility to ensure that everyone in the company is engaged with the process – and that they’re sharing information wherever appropriate. Using Cloud-based solutions help significantly to make sure that everyone has access to the same data in the region of their choice.

4. Plan your implementation

Global payroll isn’t a plug and play solution. In the earlier phase of implementation, you need to be responsive, reactive, and proactive about any issues that may arise – and this means you’ll need a support team on hand during this busy and important period. Accordingly, there’s far more to it than just software and technology. Experience with project management and change management is essential – as is full employee buy-in.  

Global payroll can initially seem like a complicated endeavour, but with the right technology is achievable and worthwhile. With proper support and planning in place, you will reap the benefits of minimising day-to-day operational processes n your organisation.

By Bruce van Wyk is the Director at PaySpace.

Read Previous

What’s your most important asset … now?

Read Next

Lessons from medics through the eyes of a patient